Government leading PNG into disaster

The LNG project has generated much expectation on the benefits it will bring to the people of PNG. These expectations are to a great extent exaggerated by the government of the day. I have spent some time studying this Somare government. This government is cunning in its tactic as it attempts every day to portray a sovereign pretence that it is in control of the destiny of this country to the people of PNG and governments and organizations world wide. The recent much hyped Vision 2050 after the other national plans like the MTDS are evidence to this mood of this government. MTDS did not deliver and was deemed a failure. The Prime Minister has even boldly declared that by 2030, this country will be a prosperous nation and the people’s standard of living will be equal to other nations of the world. 

That is a big statement! When we go back in history, Michael Somare said these very words at independence in 1975? Since then, after 35 years, all the billions earned from Bougainville, Ok Tedi, Pogera, Misima, Lihir and earnings from all our agricultural exports, have not trickled down to the rural majority and our people are worse off in 2010 than they were in 1975. What guarantee is there that we will be better off in another 30 years time?

The Tuesday April 20 stand by the Catholic bishops on the LNG project throws further doubt on the authenticity and ability of an already confused government and its people. However to be fair on Sir Michael, it must be pointed out here that the turnover of PMs in PNG in over 30 years has been very high and therefore the Chief should not shoulder all the blame. Chan, Wingti, Namaliu, Skate and Morauta should all share the shame for the state of this country. But what makes Somare the apex of everyone’s wrath is that he has remained in politics for more than 40 years and in this time he has been the boss on many occasions.

The people’s anger is also directed at him because he is in charge of the country during an era when the country is seeing unprecedented high earnings from our minerals and oil exports but the rural people are still missing out on the very basic services. But most importantly, the wrath of this nation is pointed at this Prime Minister and his government in the last eight years because he has a bunch of cowboys around him who don’t know how to govern a nation. 

The executive arm of government has pretty well been maintained over eight years and with a core inner cycle of “chicken boys” gagging and manipulating everything, even masterminding dubious activities, what guarantee is there that we can rely on these corrupt people to deliver the goods from the LNG project and the people of PNG will be prosperous in 30 years time? As all other preceding national plans, Vision 2050 will not deliver. My doubts stem from three facts. 

Poor government performance after 34 years 

It is a fact that we have come 34 years as an independent nation and with a reasonably fair amount of resources (financial) available through earnings from our mineral and agricultural exports and friendly foreign aid; we have not been able to raise the standard of living of our people but instead it has worsened.

Our human development indicators remain among the lowest in the whole world with extremely high maternal and child mortality, the lowest literacy status in the Pacific, the law and order situation is escalating out of control every day everywhere (with the exception of some rural areas kept in check only by the village courts based on traditional law and order processes). Our roads are the worst ever and many are closed. Many of our airstrips are also unusable. Rural schools and hospitals and all other government infrastructures have fallen apart. Remember, most of these were inherited from our colonial masters. The many governments have attempted to rectify these through various plans, legislations and amendments to the Constitution. Even though these have been schemed with good intentions, at the end of the day Papua New Guinea still fared very badly among the nations of the world. 


Corruption both at the political and the bureaucratic levels have been the biggest stumbling block to this country’s development endeavours. Over the years much of the state’s wealth has been squandered by senior public servants and politicians and most times both in collaboration. Everyday we read of politicians and bureaucrats embroiled in millions of kina dealings. And these people never get caught. That means the whole system of governance is corrupt. 

Many senior government officers I have encountered while I served my term in the public service are people whose travelling allowances to Port Moresby on a five day duty travel are made out for ten days. Still others fly to Port Moresby when they can reasonably achieve these tasks over a telephone, fax or an email. When you consider 10 officers from every government agency in provinces and departments engrossed in this act each day, over one year, it can run up substantial amounts of money, money that could have been put to good use in villages of PNG.

So here we are, it is not just the politicians and senior bureaucrats but public servants who are enjoying good government salaries who are just as bad. And even those low ranking policemen, who take K2.00 from every motorist at the many road blocks each day along the Highlands Highway, are just as bad. So everybody at all levels of government are corrupt!

Government leading PNG into disaster

In recent times, a large majority of the citizens of this nation, including academics, NGOs and churches, believe this current government is corrupt and is inefficient. Many of its actions and decisions on the floor of Parliament are questionable, the most recent one being the attempt to weaken the Ombudsman Commission so that they can continue to embezzle without any policing.

Parliamentary processes have been manipulated to ensure this group of politicians continues to hold power. Does this ring any bells of other regimes in history; that of Mugabe, Suharto and Marcos?

This Government has also not adequately provided answers to the Moti Saga, the Finance Department scandal, the Taiwanese diplomacy scandal, the US dollar forestry scandal and many more. The recent damning report by the Auditor General tabled by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee in Parliament buries this government in the black mud of the Sepik River. The K10 million handouts to the 109 MPs have been misapplied by our MPs and their CEOs. (One only has to drive through the Chimbu district of Salt Nomane to prove this – if you can drive there!)

So after these bold predictions by the ruling party of Vision 2050, can PNG really do a sudden 90 degree turnaround from its current position at one end of the spectrum to reach the other end in 20 years? Malaysia and Indonesia are two countries that were able to achieve remarkable progress in the space of 15 to 20 years. Can PNG achieve that?

First published at


Vision 2050 is a popularity pet for Waigani pollies. It follows same development path as past and present i.e. mineral-led development. Where are the NGOs? Would this be one among many govt policies Maladina Amendment to section 27(4) Constitution will restrict Ombudsman Commission from issuing any directive? And add mra, customary land registration, and LNG and many more....and we have PNG well into African tube way. Agree, wake up and make a stand you who know and have the passionate voice for PNG.